Belfast Telegraph: Church’s guidance for parents of gay kids

By Patrice Dougan

A new booklet which aims to give advice to Church of Ireland parents who find out their child is gay will be launched at the General Synod today.

I Think My Son Or Daughter Is Gay: Guidance For Parents Of Gay Children In The Church Of Ireland, has been written by Gerry Lynch from Changing Attitude Ireland, an organisation which campaigns for the inclusion of gay people in the Church.

One such parent is Paul Rowlandson, whose youngest daughter Katherine (31) came out as a lesbian when she was 16.

He believes faith should not be a barrier to acceptance.

He said: “We feel somewhat guilty sometimes when we hear what other parents have to endure.

“I know of a couple of friends of Katherine’s who have had a very hard time and I know that the parents can have a hard time, particularly when one parent accepts it and the other one finds it very difficult to accept.”

After his daughter came out he said that while it didn’t come as a shock, he hadn’t suspected anything.

“My wife and her were having a lot of discussions — but because of these discussions I thought she had a dreadful illness or something, so when they told me it came as a relief. I took the view that there wasn’t anything wrong with it,” he said.

Paul will be telling his story today at the Armagh City Hotel to highlight the experiences parents of gay children go through and to promote the idea of tolerance and respect for homosexuality in our society.